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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  December 24, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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12/24/13 12/24/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! right now there are no guarantees. right now continued threats against the leaders of the guerrilla movement, the proliferation of murderers and massacres continues. >> that israel reyes, farc leader who was killed with the help of the cia. so the new washington post report reveals how the cia helped kill at least two dozen rebel leaders in colombia.
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in the attack and meant "a colombian pilot flying a colombian plane would hit the camp using a us-made bomb with a cia controlled frame." the national security agency was key to the program funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget. we will speak with a reporter who wrote the restore he dana priest dana priest,. then, mikhail kalashnikov has died. rifleented the assault also known as the ak-47. weapons should only be in the hands of those people who defend their country, that is the defense not to attack. i design the rifle not for international conflict, but to protect the borders of my homeland. >> all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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u n secretary-general ban ki- moon is calling for near doubling of the international peacekeeping force in south sudan amidst spiraling violence. on monday, he asked the security council to send up to 5500 more troops. watching, all sides in south sudan, attacked civilians and the u.n. keys peeping -- you in peacekeepers to protect the must sees immediately. those responsible at the senior level will be held personally accountable and face the consequences. even if they claim they had no knowledge of the attacks. >> the security council is due to vote on ban's proposal today.
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salsa dance violence erupted earlier this month when accused hislva kiir former deputy of mounting a coup. said the, riek machar release of opposition leaders is a precondition for talks. [indiscernible] these are the people we engaged in the dialogue. [indiscernible] >> hundreds have been killed and
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thousands have sought refuge at u.n. facilities to escape the fighting. a week of bombing by the al- assad regime in northern syria has reportedly left over 300 people dead. syrian government helicopter seven hitting the town of aleppo with highly destructive barrel bombs -- oil drums filled with explosives and sometimes with nails or scrap metal. the opposition syrian observatory for human rights has the death toll includes 87 children. over 80 people were reportedly killed on monday. at least 14 people were killed and over 120 wounded when a car bomb hit a police station in northern egypt. the egyptian government has blamed the attack on the muslim bea brotherhood. no one has crammed responsibility so far. earlier on monday, dozens of people rallied in cairo against the jailing of three leading activists who helped lead the uprising against hosting
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mubarak. the three were the first to be sentenced under a new law that effectively bans public protest are requiring seven different permits for rallies. >> [indiscernible] to take measures against activists and put them in prison. we will continue because we think it violates into national conventions and even the constitution. >> israel has released a palestinian prisoner who's lengthy hunger strike helped spark major protest in the occupied territories. issawi was initially released under the 2011 deal under the freedom israeli soldier gilad shalit. to be re-arrested and returned to the is really prison last year. ended his hunger strike in april after israel agreed to set him free in return.
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the israeli government is seeking a nation from the u.s. after becoming the latest country to be caught up in the nsa spying scandal. documents leaked by edward snowden show the nsa monitor the e-mails of then prime minister ert and other top israeli officials in 2009. on monday, israeli prime minister into miniature and yahoo! call the surveillance unacceptable. intranets and yahoo! called the surveillance unacceptable. >> i've asked for an examination in the matter. there are things that must be done and are not acceptable to us. >> in a lengthy interview, edward snowden declared mission accomplished in his exposure of nsa surveillance. snowden said --
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snowden also repeated his denials of sharing the leaked documents with foreign governments including his host country russia. snowden said -- the obama administration has extended a deadline until today for american seeking health insurance starting january 1 through the website. the 24-hour grace period was announced as over a million people flooded the site on monday. in a symbolic move, the white house says president obama personally enrolled in a bronze plan online over the weekend. same-sex marriages are continuing in utah after a federal judge refused to overturn his decision striking down the state's ban. on monday, u.s. district judge robert shelby rejected arguments from utah's attorney general, saying he stands by his ruling that marriage is a fundamental right for all. dozens of couples exchanged vows at the city clerk's office in salt lake city. i don't think it will change
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day-to-day life for us, but it is nice to know there is some formal recognition to the relationship we have created over the last 15 years. it is a nice way to commemorate the relationship we share. >> just to have this opportunity in utah, our home state. we could have gone to california or another state, but we are from utah and that is huge. we are pioneers. it is so awesome. >> in ohio, a federal judge has issued a partial rejection of the state's gay marriage ban. on monday, judge timothy black ruled their undiscriminating -- unlawfully discriminating against those. out-of-state and appearing on the partner's death certificate. lgbt advocates gathered in to about monday opposition to the country's new anti-gay law. uganda's parliament passed a measure last week that imposes a sentence of life in prison for repeated homosexual acts.
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it also makes it a crime not to report lgbt people. vowed toan activist challenge the measure in court. we shall go to the african court and then we shall go to the international court because you cannot challenge something that is not already past. you cannot challenge something that is not passed. passed, itt it is has paved the way for us to go to the courts. for us, that is one positive thing about this fight. >> a number of u.s. evangelicals have been tied to anti-lgbtq somer in uganda, with reportedly helping draft the newly passed law. the two freed members of the russian punk group pussty riot
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are calling for boycott of the upcoming winter lubbock's following the release from prison. they have been jailed since last march for protesting russian leader vladimir putin in an orthodox cathedral. it were due to be released within the next month, but were freed earlier under an amnesty that vladimir putin proposed. one of them called the amnesty a cynical act. >> this is a cynical act. putin blamed us for carrying out cynical ask, but his act today is much more cynical. to release those people who do not need to be released. these remaining two months i could've easily spent where i was in at the same time he refused to release those people who really needed it. it is a disgusting and cynical act. >> the pussy riot members say the world should boycott the winter games and the russian city of sochi in february to protest putin's record on human rights. new york city is reportedly settled hundreds of lawsuits
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over the mass arrest of protesters in the 2004 republican national convention. over 1800 people were detained during the rnc, with many held in squalid conditions and for far longer than legally allowed. according to the "new york times," the new settlement would cover most or all pending lawsuits, with some payments totaling several million dollars. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. begin today in colombia, where shocking a report has exposed how a secret cia program in colombia helped kill at least two dozen rebel leaders. post" reportsn the program relies on key help from the national security agency and is funded through multibillion-dollar black budget. the program began under president george w. bush and continued under obama. it has crippled the farc rebel group by targeting its leaders using bombs equipped with gps guidance. up until 2010, the cia
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controlled the encryption keys that allowed the bombs to read gps data. in 2008, the u.s. and colombia discovered a farc leader hiding in a quit or. according to the report -- the attack killed the rebel leader and sparked a major flareup of tensions with ecuador and venezuela. this is the now slain farc commander raul reyes speaking to independent reporter mario murillo in 1996. >> for peace there has to be a policy that comes from the state. that means there has to be guarantees for the insurgency to sit with the government.
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right now there are no guarantees. right now continued threats against the leaders of the guerrilla movement, the proliferation of murderers, and massacres, continues. >> the u.s. role in the attack that killed raul reyes had no previous lead been reported. colombia's government is downplaying the report. on monday, the defense minister said collaboration with u.s. intelligence and special forces has occurred for a while and is already known to helped weaken the capacities of farc. for more we're joined by the reporter who broke the story, prizeriest, pulitzer winning investigative reporter at "washington post" whose work focuses on intelligence and counterterrorism. this edit -- this article is headlined, "covert action in colombia: u.s. intelligence, gps bomb kits help latin american nation cripple rebel forces." joins us by video stream. welcome to democracy now! talk about this exposé. what were your major findings.
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>> well, i'm glad to be with you, amy. the major findings are mainly aat the cia had and still has large covert action program in colombia. it really started in his present form in about 2003. as you might recall, columbia was in such bad shape in the turn-of-the-century in 2000, the farc mainly, but also paramilitaries, had created a situation of grave instability were colombia have the highest murder rate in the world. there were thousands of people being kidnapped, human rights violations were terrible for anybody who was judged to be a theathizer with the farc, government, and the paramilitaries often disappeared people, torture was commonplace. and the colombians and the americans up until then had had
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a close relationship. the colombians have been trained by the u.s. for many years, especially starting in 2000 under planned columbia, which was the overt nonclassified military program to send billions of dollars of aid down to colombia to help them fight the farc. in about 2003, there were three u.s. hostages taken when their plane crashed. they were contractors for company that was hoping to do the coca eradication. they were taken as hostages by the farc who had taken thousands of hostages by that time, and the u.s. sent a team of cia people down to try to find them. in order to do that, they set up a fusion center -- which, by now, we're pretty familiar with what they do because they operate in other parts of the world, especially aimed at al qaeda. it brings together all sorts of intelligence from the milling it
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-- many intelligence agencies of the u.s. government and fuses that together with colombian information. well, that a hard time finding the hostages and yet they had a lot more capacity down there. they started in embassy fusion cell. they got a lot of help from the nsa who brought in eavesdropping equipment so they could basically spy on the farc when they communicate with one another. they were doing the same thing with drug cartels. they brought that together define the hostages, but they were not very successful. so they said, we've got all this capability here, let's turn it against the farc leadership, which is something they had done or they had begun to do successfully in other parts of the world against the al qaeda leadership, the so-called high- value targets, hvt's. they started the same thing in colombia using the equipment and partnership they began with the
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colombians. then at a certain point, they realized -- actually, it was one individual down there at the time who had just been sent to was a u.s. air force mission chief for all the air assets that were being deployed down there. took a look at the planned columbia budget and said, why are we able to kill more farc leaders? this would be something we should do. he analyzed it and discovered one of the reasons they were doing that is the farc leaders had a ring of security around their camps that extended for miles out so when they brought in ground troops by helicopter, the farc camp could see them beforehand and fully. and so he, being an air force guy, came up with this idea and actually googled around fine bombs and fighters and came up with this idea of precision guided munitions, which is a smart bomb which has a gps
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coordinate or antenna on it which can tell the bomb where to go. if you can find the person and program in its and link it up to gps satellite already in the sky, then you could do what u.s. had been doing for years before in various war scenarios. so that is what he proposed. it took a while for the u.s. to agree to that for various reasons that i would be glad to discuss, but they eventually did. and because they did not trust the colombians totally to use it as it was supposed to be used, they were worried give in their human rights record that they might use it against the lyrical enemies, they kept what is described as the encryption key, which is the key that unlocks -- basically, unlocks the scrambling of the communications between the bomb and the gps satellites. you need that key in order to get the gps satellite to link
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down to the bomb and so we will know where it is at all times that it is flying, but also where to go to hit the target. they kept that for three years until they trusted the colombians would do what he promised to do and eventually gave that to them. described what happened in 2008 with the killing of the most famous face of the farc, raul reyes. >> raul reyes had been on their radar for some time, but they could not exactly find him at the rope moment -- right moment. in this scenario, you have to be able to keep track of someone so you know where they are when the planes are in the sky, missiles are launched. a combination of u.s. intelligence and a colombian informants -- the colombians had a good record of being able to penetrate the farc camps by that time. things can together.
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they found him. he was about a mile across the river into ecuador. -- theyided to use decided they wanted to go after him and the u.s. gave them what i call tacit approval, which really does mean in their minds they had debated whether a cross-border attack into another solvent country was going to be legal. and the lawyers who had done the instance, on u.s. drone strikes in pakistan, decided that it would be legal under a new interpretation of the law that they instituted, thought about after the 9/11 attacks, which basically was this -- if another country is harboring terrorist organizations and either is unwilling or unable to do anything about it, the country that those groups are aiming towards in al qaeda's case it was the u.s., but in colombia's
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case raul reyes was part of an organization that was bent on attacking columbia, then it would be justified under the rules of war and self-defense or colombia to go into ecuador and kill or capture that person. so that is what they did. they stayed in colombian airspace and launched several missiles into ecuador, which did have the intended effect of killing reyes and members of his security force and others who traveled with him in the camp. of course, this caused a huge to the meta-dispute between columbia and ecuador -- ecuador, of course, charging it had violated international law by bombing the country. venezuela weighed in in his typical way, very anti-american, saying they were a terrorist nation. nicaragua broke diplomatic relations with colombia. the pressure mounted.
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the organization of american states weighed in. there was lots of pressure against your rebate -- uribe. he eventually apologized in public, which caused a little anger back in the united states among small group of people who knew the back story because they thought he was giving up or publicly giving up the right of self-defense, but it did not damage relationships between colombia and the united states and in fact, they carried on the secret strikes against farc membership and other targets inside columbia. while the fact of the bombing into ecuador was well-known -- and at the time there was a lot of conspiracy theories that the u.s. did it -- it was never any or,f the u.s. knew about it certainly, they did not do it
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directly. so this is one of the revelations in the story. >> talk about the bunker, dana priest. >> the bunker was the nickname of the embassy fusion center in the embassy in bogotá. and that was a site that brought itether all of the u.s. and is u.s. only. they don't allow colombians or other foreigners in it. at a brought together the intelligence from the national security agency, the national ,eospatial intelligence agency -- dea sometimes, in the cia all the sort of intelligence that is possible to bring together from the u.s. side and then that would be any sort of performancefrom that colombians had -- informants that colombians have. by that time the clemens were
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quite good at infiltrating camps. they were less good at technical types of you stopping. it was a combination really of the human -- so human intelligence, the source froming, and debriefings deserters who had been in the farc. this actually is a very important part of the intelligence gathering that is done in colombia, mainly by the government there. the cia did help them to do more thorough investigations or debriefings from interrogations, agreed tombers who take the offer by the colombian government and dessert the farc, and they would be given eventually government payments and allowed to integrate back into society. and these people were very important to understand or for the government to understand how the farc was organized, where its supply chain was, what type had.maments they
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into the fusion cell, the cia did combine the colombians to shut the colombians did a better job at keeping that data and creating the database that allowed the colombians and the americans to search information about the farc. the ciaf the people officers dispatched to bogotá was an operator in his 40s who the washington post you've chosen not to identify. who created this u.s. embassy intelligence fusion cell called the bunker. is he still operating there? >> i don't -- no, he is done in colombia anymore. i believe he is elsewhere. one of the intriguing parts to me is what i wanted to do in the story were why i got into the story in the first place is we
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know what was happening now in iraq and afghanistan and to some extent pakistan and somalia and yemen in the fight against al qaeda. what else was the cia doing during that decadep-eriod of time when we were focused on other places in the country or in the world? i did a story about mexico several months ago that showed the intelligence relationship that it burgeoned there during that timeframe and during that time is when i heard about the colombian relationship. so if you look at it in the bigger sense, what was happening in colombia was some of the same types of techniques that they were learning about and sharing , ciatheir counterparts counterparts, in other parts of the world. again, the sort of targeting of individuals which is a new phenomenon that began after
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9/11. u.s. did not do that well and did not do it with the cia prior to that. so you see how they were doing things overseas in other places is sort of the same they were doing it in colombia and they ended up using the same legal justification for targeting and killing an individual. as you know, the u.s. law prohibits assassination. inthey had to work through the beginning whether this would be considered an assassination. decided, no, it would not because they were in an act of state with a nonstate actor. and that being the terrorist organization, the farc, al qaeda in this case. so they were doing some of the same sort of fusing of intelligence that you saw in other parts of the world. >> that is interesting. by that definition, the u.s.
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could have killed nelson mandela . he was part of a terrorist organization. his actual location was identified by the cia and then he was put in prison. but he was part of what the u.s. called a terrorist organization and you was a nonstate actor. >> well, i don't know about that. as far as i know, they never tried to kill nelson mandela. >> right, but by that definition of saying -- -- i don't know. u.s. torder -- for the get involved, they have to: organization a terrorist organization like they have the farc and that is something that takes a lot of different questions to be answered. what sort of violence are they perpetrating? if you remember, the farc started out in the 1960s as a
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peasant organization with the marxist ideology that wanted to be a peace and justice organization and land reform and columbia had a huge -- and still does, but less so -- income inequity. but it transformed in the last 50 years into what the vast majority of colombians who were polled on this and support the government during the sort of thing believe is a terraced organization, fueled by drug money. they're heavily involved in the drug trade. they perpetrate indiscriminate killings against civilians without any seeming remorse about it. so they have transitioned from a -- pro-peasant organization that wanted justice for poor people into an indiscriminate, violent, drug-
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fueled group that has very little support from colombians who have witnessed their assassinations or kidnappings and other bombings, car bombings, and the like. >> the farc were in peace talks at the time of this. --billion went into plant this money that went into the thatted killings is beyond the nsa and cia is getting. >> that's right. all of these programs are hidden from us in a black budget, classified budget. in the $9 billion that went over -- that is been going to colombia, mostly military aid, some nonmilitary aid, but the vast majority is military aid since 2000, 1 of the things that has been remarkable or unique about planned colombia is congress -- certain members of
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congress, senator leahy in particular -- has been very adamant that none of that aid will be given to u.s. military to participate directly in operations. and that is because of the scandals in the mid-1980s against [indiscernible] >> we are having trouble hearing you, dana. go ahead with what you're saying. sorry, we can't hear you right now. i want to thank you for that pulitzerana priest, prize-winning investigative reporter at "washington post" whose work focuses on intelligence and counterterrorism. we will link to her piece, "covert action in colombia: u.s. intelligence, gps bomb kits help latin american nation cripple rebel forces."
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when we come back, we will talk to longtime colombian american journalists, mario murillo, as well as charlie roberts, member of the columbia human rights committee and board chair of the u.s. office on columbia. use invoke atoll. stay with us. bogotá. in stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report.
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i'm amy goodman. as we continue our coverage of the startling report that exposes how a secret cia program in colombia is responsible for killing at least two dozen rebel leaders there. "washington post" article by dana priest is called, "covert action in colombia: u.s. intelligence, gps bomb kits help latin american nation cripple rebel forces." in a moment we will go to colombia, where we will be joined on the phone by charlie roberts, member of the columbia human rights committee and board should of big u.s. office on columbia. first, the words of a man who roberts has been closely covering, gustavo petro, the mayor of bogotá. earlier this month, columbia's inspector general announced petra would have to leave office or the alleged mismanagement of the capital's rubbish collection service. however his supporters say the former left-wing rebel has been the victim of a right-wing coup. asked7, democracy now! gustavo petro about his part as a former guerrilla and member of
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the m-19. m-19 was a blizzard force in colombia against the state of siege, against dictatorial forms that columbia had two decades ago. and it ceased being a belligerent force in terms of an armed movement when it negotiated [indiscernible] held in 1991, in which we won the election by popular vote and transformed at least in terms of the constitution, it transformed the country from a dictatorship into a democracy with progress. in 1991, the, constitution of columbia which
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calls for rule of law and significant social policies for reducing inequality, we must keep in mind, columbia is an of the most unequal countries in the world socially speaking. level and in a widespread fashion, we have seen the rise of what i call dictatorships, paramilitary apparatuses that assassinate the population with a single objective, which is to accumulate and concentrate wealth in the most savage form possible, one of which is exporting cocaine to the united states. and because of denouncing [indiscernible] having spent five years of my work as a legislator pointing out the first names and last names of certain columbia rp legislators in certain regions of the country, draft laws in the morning and at night with order massacres.
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because i've helping revealed this intricate network of relationships between persons carrying out genocide, drug traffickers and politicians and public officials, i received an insult from the president of colombia who said i was a terrorist in civilian clothes. considered a terrorist because i was telling the truth. i was telling the relationship between the countries rulers and drug traffickers. >> that was gustavo petro speaking to democracy now! in 2007, was told to step down as mayor of bogotá this month. he and supporters are working to prevent this decision from being carried out. in a moment we will go to c robertson columbia. before we do, we're joined by mario murillo who is an independent journalist and professor and chair of the department of radio and, television, film at hofstra university. he is codirector of the center for civic engagement.
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he's covered columbia extensively and is the author of the book, "colombia and the united states: war, unrest, and destabilization." welcome to democracy now! it was your clip, an interview you did with raul reyes that we played on democracy now! ins is an interview you did 1996. in 2008, he was killed in what was believed that the time to be a columbia cross-border strike and to ecuador where he was until the number of other people -- and killed a number of other people as well. that was 12 years after you did that interview. of "the priest washington post" is confirming for the first time the intelligence used in that strike was u.s. intelligence. it was a cia brain, if you will, and that gps bomb. then you talk about the significance of this? >> the report in many ways is withlike having interviews unidentified israeli officials and u.s. officials acknowledging the existence of a nuclear or
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nuclear weapon in israel. it is pretty much the same thing. it was a wink and a not after the 2008 assassination of raul reyes that the u.s. was directly involved in that was never disclosed and with great detail dana priest put out on sunday, clearly, confirms what so many people were saying. it is really not a surprise in the since the u.s. is been immersed in colombia for so many years, even before flying columbia, even before farc to about as a result of kennedy's push to liquidate any kind of opposition in the countryside in colombia through the colombian armed forces. i think it has to applications. looking at the u.s. standpoint, and you guys have been doing great work on this issue on democracy now! in terms of the rule of law, terms of justifying targeted assassinations on an international scale and making or rationalizing it, you see in the report how white house
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officials and national security lawyers are saying, yes, these farc rebels, raul reyes, posed a threat to the u.s. and colombia and so we had a justification to target them militarily. and i think anyone concerned about the rule of law, that operation happening with complete lack of government oversight or congressional oversight, should be alarming. from the standpoint of colombia, i think petro's clip is a good indication of the hypocrisy of you is "fighting terrorism was caught in colombia and we think about the complete lack of pursuing a right-wing military it in colombia for decades has been killing, massacring, disappearing peasants throughout the country and that basically in the article it points out that u.s. officials say we were not targeting the violent paramilitaries in this process. so you have a complete double standard in terms of describing terrorism on the ground and in the u.s. military directly
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involved in trying to liquidate the farc is the only culprits of violence or the only instigators of violence in the country. >> and the significance of the killing of raul reyes farc, the most public face of the farc? >> i think the big point there is the international incident that occurred of how it led to major discord between colombia and ecuador and venezuela came into the picture, hugo chavez massing troops along the border with colombia. again, it goes to show u.s. are very vague when it comes to trying to control a situation that in colombia in many ways they have made worse because of their military intervention. and i think ultimately it was the beginning dana priest, as dana priest points out, major
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major demise of the farc is that they fail to recognize they weren't at war in colombia with colombia only, but with the united states, the most powerful military and intelligence machine in the world and the chances were that a weren't going to come out looking too good. that was the beginning of many ways of the process of dismantling of the farc and that is where we are today. >> where would the farc be if the u.s., the nsa, the cia, were not taking out its leaders? i think in the piece talked about the killing of at least two dozen farc leaders. >> i think it is hard to say, but i think what we see is a long track record -- his is just perhaps the most aggressive and in many ways the least -- if you look at it from the standpoint of u.s. strategic and military abilities as probably the most successful approach or try to defeat the farc militarily,
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but this is a long track record since the 1980s were the u.s. under reagan refused to have any kind of negotiation and put pressure on the colombian ofitary to avoid any kind reasonable real negotiations that would lead to ugly hosting -- to lead to a lasting solution when the rebels try to get involved politically in the process and resulted in the deaths of thousands of local activists that were loyal to the farc there were trying to do it through legal means. subsequent to that in the 1990s when the president at the time of colombia attempted to push forward a peace process under the name of plants colombia, but his plans columbia was described as trying to pacify the underside first believed to negotiations enter that negotiation which the farc would lay down their weapons there would be able to address the long-lasting drug problems in the region, the united states
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completely transform that into a military operation saying, no, first we have to defeat the farc militarily and that is what planned colombia is. any attempt at negotiation will jettison really to the pressures of the united states what we saw subsequent to that was basically a massive offensive on national scale in colombia of the paramilitary attacking civilian populations where they're considered to be farc strongholds resulting in millions of displaced pretense of thousands of people killed, and all in the name of "fighting that ultimately led to a complete collapse of the peace talks in the early 2000's and that is are we are today. every attempt at trying to negotiate a solution to the situation is already resulted -- always resulted in more military will stop that is were today situation is interesting because there are peace to go stations going on in the current government that has always leave them behind this cia/nsa attack on the farc, trying to negotiate
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the farc in a much weaker position but the government getting a lot of pressure from uribeormer president your to jettison any peace negotiations. that is the take away from my standpoint that at every turn, the u.s. has been counter to negotiate since the meanwhile, they did not say anything that took place under the uribe government between colombia and government and the pair military groups that in many since were directly tied to the military in colombia. >> were also joined in addition to mario murillo by charlie roberts with columbia human rights committee. charlie, you're in bogotá colombia right now uncovering what is happening to the bogotá mayor. was wondering if you could talk about responding to this report and perhaps in a bigger sense, how it relates to what is happening to the mayor today. >> sure.
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well, i would agree with what mario has laid out in terms of the double standard come terms of the violations of international law that are involved in the u.s. actions. it is directly related to what is happening today in bogotá. there's an official in colombia known as the inspector general who is chosen by the senate. he happens to be a follower of uribe. he has taken an action to try to remove gustavo petro, the popularly elected mayor of bogotá, on grounds of not of criminal conduct, not of corruption, but it mismanaging the trash removal situation in bogotá. he is authorized under the colombian constitution to remove elected officials and unelected officials on several grounds and he has thrown out hundreds of
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mayors. the situation, however, is different. it is different first of all because bogotá is the largest city and it is also different because federal is one of the leaders of colombia's to aquatic left. pedro has negotiated peace as part of the m-19 24 years ago the government. if the government is actually intending to negotiate peace with the farc, then they have to offer them political guarantees to be able to participate in colombian policy. and here with his arbitrary action by the inspector general against mayor petro, he is spending a very -- sending a very strong message to the farc, which is, you can lay down your weapons and run for popular office but if you get elected, we are going to see what we can do to throw you out of office because there are sectors of the colombian elite that are not prepared to allow democratically elected figures who propose real social change here in colombia which is one of the most unequal hunters in the world, they're not going to allow them -- they
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will do anything possible to throw them out of office, which is what he is trying to do right now. here asat happens from you're in bogotá and the response of the people in colombia, charlie? >> the inspector general announced his decision on december 9, yet it is not gone into effect. that they tens of thousands of people came to the main plaza in the center bogotá and mayor petro announced -- addressed the crowd and in four of the following five days, tens of thousands of people came, members of what is known as the indigenous persons from the south of columbia, came up to bogotá armed with sticks -- that is all -- petro made to clear statements in response on the day he said, we must act peacefully, no violence whatsoever by his supporters,
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but he said we also must express ourselves. >> what is happening -- colombia is a country where there's a certain obsession with doing everything as per the law, but their different legal explanations and different legal arguments. in this case on the one hand, you have authority of the inspector general to remove petro from office, but at the same time colombia has ratified the american convention on human rights which states that no public elected official can be removed from office other than by a competent court. so there's a major debate underway in colombia, even people who haven't supported petro are upset with this action by the inspector general because they see it is arbor terry, it is -- it is arbitrary, aimed at ending the peace talks with the farc and aimed at beheading the democratic rest of columbia. his decision also excludes petro. it would exclude petro from any participation in political
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activity for 15 years if it goes through. so mr. petro has gone to washington. he spoke with members of congress, state department, and also went to the inter-american commission on human rights, charge ofhe group in overseeing of limitation of the american convention on human rights seeking cautionary measures, which is where the commission, if they grant these measures, which is still pending, would be saying there is an imminent threat of irreparable harm to mr. petro's human rights and, by the way, the rights of the hundreds of thousands of people who voted for him to get them elected. >> i want to thank you both charlie roberts and mario murillo for being with us. of the roberts, member colombian human rights committee and board chair, u.s. office on columbia. codirector ofllo, the center for civic engagement. he's covered colombia extensively for years and one of his books is him a "colombia and
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the united states: war, unrest, and destabilization." when we come back, mikhail kalashnikov is dead. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the inventor of the most popular firearm in the world is dead. the kalashnikov assault rifle created by mikhail kalashnikov became one of the world's most widely used weapons. an estimated 100 million guns are spread worldwide. the relative some felicity -- simplicity made it cheap to produce as well as reliable and easy to maintain. mikhail kalashnikov designed his first machine gun in 1940 two after suffering injuries as a tank commander for the soviet union's red army during world war ii.
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but it was only after years of modification that the ak-47 was introduced for soviet military service in 1947. becameearly 1950s, it the standard weapon for soviet and warsaw pact countries. the gun also proved popular with paramilitary groups. flesh and a cop made little money from his gun. he was often defensive about criticism that his invention had caused countless deaths around the world. weapon to defend the father lance borders, he said, it is not my fault it is sometimes used where should not have been. >> mikhail kalashnikov died monday at the age of 94. to talk about the significance of his weapon and its maker, we're joined by william hartung. his latest book is, "prophets of war: lockheed martin and the making of the military- industrial complex." democracy now! welcome back to -- welcome back to democracy now! >> interesting character, did not have a high school education, grew up in salsa
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beria, rose up through the ranks because of his mechanical abilities. a design bureau competing amongst 15 others. stalin had a secret contest to build the next weapon for the soviet army. once the integrated it, they started building it in large quantities. then they turned up in vietnam, cuba for the governments of egypt and iraq, and became sort of the firearm of the liberation movements. in africa -- >> actually has an ak-47, bayonet attached to the barrel? on the flag? >> yes. and there were basically given away for free. that is why there are so many in the world now. it wasn't really a market success, it was just the soviet union ending them out any possible ally. so what happened in vietnam was is sort of made its reputation
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because the m-16, the u.s. rival was not working. it was jamming in the jungles. anytime a u.s. soldier could get ak-47, he would use it. you could use it in a most any condition. anything to almost these things. in afghanistan, some of the taliban members are using one's that are from the 1950s that still operate 50 or 60 years later. we had this kind of a flip from the cold war period where we had these huge stockpiles. when the soviet union got out of the business of giving away evans and became russia, they sort of became fair game for another arms -- for arms traffickers. they swapped resources with people like charles taylor for guns. you had the sort of business of war, self-perpetuating. you did not need a country to back you up anymore. you could just deal with arms
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dealers as is happening the war the democratic republic of congo, sierra leone, angola. because of its lightweight nature, the factory was cheap and ubiquitous, child soldiers were able to operate them without a logistics trail, very meek easy to maintain and so forth. >> let's go back to mikhail kalashnikov talking about his invention. >> the weapons and should only be in the hands of those people who defend their country, that is to defend, not attack. i designed a rifle now for international conflict, but to protect the borders of my homeland. >> that was mikhail kalashnikov. can you talk about the coalition a cough and its affect on the frequency and violence? >> i think it is an enabler of war. what happens is although the gun is in fighting the war itself, certainly the ability to kill so many people in such a short amount of time, 600 rounds per minute, had never been possible in such a small killing package.
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if you have a local dispute that sells an ak-47, you will have a warner hands very shortly thereafter. in that sense, without the ak- 47, perhaps we would've had a political space to solve these conflicts. in the 1990s, 46 of 49 conflicts or fought only with small arms, mostly with ak-47's. >> let's turn to comets made by the former president of the n ra explaining his member ship. >> some years in moscow, there was a dinner honoring general mikhail kalashnikov. he is the man who during the course of world war ii in his spare time invented the ak-47 and one of the few heroes of russia because of their flawed past. so on the occasion of his 85th birthday, there was a dinner honoring him in moscow. the toast was given by president putin. when he finished, he stood up
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and held his glass in putin's face said, my dream is like the united states, governed by men and women not afraid. we made general mikhail kalashnikov and honorary life member of the nra after that. >> that is david keene. the significance, bill hartung? >> it is stunning. basically they are bracing the they are embracing the maker of this weapon. probably the biggest killing machine of the 20th century. i think it just shows you how skewed the nra view of the world is. they try to block the arms trade treaty which is trying to deal with things like this, keep these weapons out of the hands of terrorists and tyrants. the nra has used its global clout to trotter water that down. they're unsuccessful in stopping it, but they will try to blunted it at every turn. >> to heart time, thank you for being with us host of his latest book i'm a "prophets of war: lockheed martin and the making
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of the military-industrial complex." democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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